The Coffin display room with ever present Honor Guard as depicted on an old postcard.
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Mao's Mausoleum (Mao Zhuxi Jianian Tang), ShenyangMen Gate and QianMen Gate in the distance during a quiet day in November 2003 AD.
A Near abondonned TiananMen Square, QianMen, ShenyangMen and Mao Zedong Mausoleum with the old Bank of China Building in the far distance (Photo November 2003 AD).
The East Flank and Main Visitor Entrance to The Mausoleum. Visitors, mainly Chinese Nationals, line up to have a brief glimpse of the preserved corps of the Mighty and Legendary Chairman inside the Mausoleum Building (Photo November 2003 AD).
Crowds push in en masse to visit the Mao Mausoleum Building, which is only open in the morning (Photo November 2003 AD).
The North Facade of Chairman Mao Mausoleum with across the Monument to The Heroes of the Revolution (Photo November 2003 AD).
Chairman Mao Mausoleum and the Monument to The Heroes of the Revolution at TiananMen Square decorated with Red Flags and abundant snow (Photo November 2003 AD).
A View along the Eastern Flank of TiananMen Square with a clear view of Mao's Mausoleum with the Great Hall of the Peoples (Left/West), Monument of the Heroes o/t Revolution and the Roofs of the Palace Museum in the Far Distance (Photo May 2005 AD). One of the obligatory security vans is visible on the square nearby.
An Important Notice showing the opening hours and more importantly the regulations in force to be allowed to visit the Chairman inside his Mausoleum (Photo November 2003 AD). Since, security has only increased.
View of an illuminated TiananMen Square from the South-East corner with from Left to Right Bank of China, Great Hall of the Peoples and Chairman Mao Mausoleum (Photo November 2003 AD).
A Quiet TiananMen Square, Flag Poles and the South Face of the Mao Mausoleum Palace in November 2003 AD when there were far fewer citizens and visiting tourists then today. In the Background the Old Bank of China Building -its top decorated with a red star- and China's "Peoples Democratic" Parliament, the gigantic Great Hall of the Peoples building in TiananMen Square's western flank.
Tourists browse around at the South Face of Mao Mausoleum. (Photo Nov. 2003 AD).
View more details of the North Face of the Mausoleum.
View more details of the South Face of the Mausoleum.
Mao Zedong Memorial Hall is the Tomb-site for China's Father of the Nation, the longtime Chairman and Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, Mao Zedong who died in September 1976 at the nearby Zhongnanhai Complex in Beijing.
The Mausoleum building itself is a strange mix of 1950's Stalinist architecture and some unclear hints of European and Chinese styles. Elaborate in size but not form it is dwarfed by the space of the surrounding square and the oversized buildings lining it.
Directions to Mao Zhuxi Jinian Tang, the Chairman Mao Memorial Hall
The Mausoleum building is easily located at the very Center of Beijing, at TiananMen Square, the Square of Heavenly Peace. Situated just off-center at the south side of this largest square in the World, the Mausoleum cannot be missed nor overlooked, as was intended.
The Square and the Mausoleum can most easily be reached by Metro/Subway, taking either the Blue or Red Line. The nearest
Close-up of the south and east-sides of the Mausoleum Building. It's dimmed lights reflecting the solemn Tomb-like nature of the building and respect for a great lost leader the Mausoleum is the least lit TiananMen square structure.
Tips for Visiting the Mao Zedong Memorial Hall
If you had not figured it out by yourself yet, please be aware that Mao Zedong was not only the Founding Father of the Nation, but was for a long time regarded as a semi-god among the Chinese in General. To be precise: Mao Zedong was Chairman of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China from 1943 AD onwards and the Chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China from 1945 until his death. Therefor, the Memorial Hall can be considered to be the Holiest Shrine in the Nation entire. This is a Shrine to Chinese Communism and its Legacy and therefor the proper behavior and respect is expected at all Times.
Guards and security camera's are on duty nearby at all times and although helpful are far less tolerant than anywhere else, such as outside on the Square of Heavenly Peace. Please refrain from loud talking, political discussion and certainly the shouting of names. Chuckling and funny remarks are not appreciated and may very well land one in a minor incident or lead to expulsion from the building.
As mentioned no filming or recording is allowed, which is closely guarded for. Don't get arrested. Do not smuggle in Camera's or other recording devices, not even microscopic versions as metal detectors and other sensors will find them on your person even before entry of the main hall.
Anyone found attempting a political action or recording a the Hall is guaranteed to land in enormous problems. Keep your Embassy staff happy and do not try it.
Admission is Free; no Bags or hand-luggage are allowed inside the Mausoleum and Halls. By now in 2014 security has increased considerable but checks are not inconvenient, in fact much resembling those experienced at a modern day airport.
See the Visitor Information (adjacent photo) for the Details.
Best Location from which to view Mao Mausoleum - Although usually entirely overlooked by first time visitors to largest square in the world, the best opportunity for overlooking the southern half of the Square of heavenly Peace and with it the Mao Zedong Memorial Hall is had from the platform of the Shengyangmen or Arrow Tower (for its function), the Gate-like structure which stands immediately to the south of Mao Zedong Mausoleum.
People usually do notice the Shenyangmen Gate with its gold lined roof and vividly colored traditional style decorations, however few people notice the small gate at its eastern flank and the miniature ticket office adjacent from where one can gain access to the Tower and climb to its platform.
From the Shengyangmen, raise your eyesight and horizon considerably and get a better sense of the arrangements surrounding Mao's Memorial Hall and within the larger square for which it was built to match. The morning hours allow
The Ground-Breaking Ceremony for the construction was held on November the 24Th of 1976 AD and the Monument was finished in exactly 6 Months, leading to a completion on May the 24Th of 1977 AD. Construction was overseen by Mao's initial successor Hua GuoFeng, who's signature can be found on the founding
The Mausoleum as a last addition is integrated with the architecture of the new Tian an Men Square and its buildings created between 1956 AD and 1959 AD. The whole square was intended as a giant gathering place for the Chinese People and parading ground for the Communist following and People's Liberation Army.
As such streets and square are wide and tailored for heavy military traffic. Major Political Rallies were held in the Square starting in September of 1966 and
Today Mao Zedong Memorial Hall is one of the top attractions to visit on the Square, especially for Chinese Nationals from other more remote parts and provinces of the Country. Each and every day crowds line up to visit this shrine to Chinese Communism (also dubbed Maoism) and its world-renowned former Leader and Thinker Mao Zedong. Although by now internationally codemned as a mass murderer and a vilain, many more people from all Nations and corners of the world come to the Square of Heavenly Peace to take photo's of the Mausoleum or have themselves Photographed, in many ways drawn by the legend of what no doubt was a powerful and great man, an unusual man in the China of his days.
finds itself guarded all hours of each day by an Honorary Guard. The building is further rigged with alarms and camera's throughout, as well as equipment with an ingenious mechanism to keep the body of the Great Leader in optimum condition at all Times.
Satellite Image Map of TiananMen Square - Square of Heavenly Peace with links to sites, monuments and streets on and around the Square.
Subway Station would be QianMen Station located at the South End of the Square (Blue Line). The next options are the Red Lines TiananMen Dong (East) and TiananMen Xi (West) Subway Stations.
There are several Bus Lines reaching The Square of Heavenly
Admission to the Mausoleum is Free of Charge. No Bags or Camera's are allowed inside.
DO NOT TAKE THE RISK TO DISREGARD THIS !!
The Memorial Hall is a Square Building of 33.6 Meters in Height covering a surface area of 20.000 Square Meters. Inside of this structure are no less than 10 Halls, of which not all are open to the Public.
After passing between guardian statues of advancing armies of revolutionaries, workers and peasants visitors allowed to follow the intended route to the building head up white marble stairs to the interior. Current day visitors are brought in from the side and in the latest round of security measures even the guardian statues are now themselves guarded by barriers.
In the First Hall upon Entrance, the North Hall stands a giant 3 Meter High white marble Statue of Mao Zedong sitting down and smiling as a post-modern Milefo. Behind the Statue
Beyond lie the East and West Hall holding Exhibitions highlighting the Glorious Marches of the Chinese Communist Party and its Great leader Mao Zedong. Here we see Mao at his Best and among Friends, his comrades Liu ShaoQi and Zhou Enlai, and the legendary General of the 8Th Route Army, Zhu De. Many more lesser heroes are depicted as well, and inside the Hall relics from the Long March, the Anti-Japanese War, the Third Civil War with the KuoMinTang and other Cultural and Political upheavals are combined with Photos, Documents and historic Letters presented in a very impressive and often touching way.
Click Map to go to Full Version !
At the Core of Chairman Mao Zedong Memorial Hall lies the Respecting Hall which is the Room in which the body of Mao Zedong is displayed to the Public.
At the Center of the Hall is a large black marble platform upon which a silver crystal coffin is displayed.Within the Coffin lie the mortal remains of the Great leader, Thinker and Founding Father of the Nation in a gray Sun Yat-Sen Style suit-uniform (often mistakenly dubbed the Mao suit) and draped with the Red Banner of the Chinese Communist Party. The entire black platform is surrounded by abundant flowers many of which have been left as a tribute by the many of the days visitors. Above the Platform in clear gold-plated letters upon the white marble inner wall is written : Eternal Glory to our Great Leader and Teacher Chairman Mao !
Architectural Significance of Mao Memorial Hall at TiananMen Square
Massive by itself, the whole Monument of the Chairman Mao Memorial Hall should however be seen within the larger context of the TiananMen Square Architecture. Standing almost at the Center of the Square and Set in line with the 6 Main Monuments, it
China's National Flag stand on the Square, signifying an important shift of the Center of Political Gravity in the Chinese Capital.
Beyond the Square stands the Gate of Heavenly Peace (Tian 'An Men), the one-time Platform for Political Messages and Decrees from the Emperors of the Ming and Qing Dynasties still considered a sacred symbol of the Nation.
Beyond the Gate of Heavenly Peace, about half a kilometer to the north at TaiHeDian (Hall of Supreme Harmony) stands the Dragon Throne, the place once considered the center of the Universe and certainly the Old Political Center of China. It was on this throne that China's last feudal (and Foreign) Emperor Pu Yi was enthroned as late as the year 1908 AD. Having concluded a cycle leading from feudal era up to Mao Zedong's China, the Chairman Mao Mausoleum forms the symbolic completing part, the Final Statement in the Political Commentary inscribed and encoded within the Monuments of
Construction of Chairman Mao Memorial Hall at TiananMen Square
The last building to be completed at the Square, Mao Zedong Memorial Mausoleum was built at the Southern Half of TiananMen Square. The construction on the Memorial Hall began immediately after Mao Zedong's Death in September 1976 AD. According to historic sources, at the Time, on the 8Th of September 1976 the ruling Politburo (acting committee) of the Communist Party of China needed less than two hours to decide to preserve the body of the Chairman. Initially the period of preservation was only two weeks, but not much later it was decided to change the period into indefinite and infinite. Thus, the body of Mao was preserved as was that of Lenin, founder of the 1917 AD Russian Revolution, and Stalin, the brutal Communist-Fascist Dictator at Red Square in Moscow and the body of Ho Chi Min, a friend of the Chinese Revolution and the nearly equally revered Leader of The Vietnamese Revolution in Ho Chi Minh City in what today is the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
(Marx), Lenin and Stalin were the great inspirers of the Chinese Chairman and China's early Communist Party (At later Times Stalin and Mao weren't the Best of Friends at all regardless of many Propaganda Depictions). Lenin (1870 AD - 1924 AD) is still honored today by his continued embalmed presence in the Red Square in Moscow in the current day Russian Federation, where his Mausoleum is an important and recognized tourist attraction.
After his death in the year 1953 AD (which relieved Mao Zedong greatly) the great Soviet teacher and Dictator Joseph Stalin was interred, alike Lenin at Red Square in Moscow taking up a tomb adjacent Lenin's. However, following his disgrace under his successor Khruschev and the subsequent "de-Stalinization" the tomb and body of Stalin were removed in October of 1961 with the remains buried elsewhere in a less honorary position though still nearby the original site.
Equally relevant to the political carreer of Mao Zedong, especially after the establishment of the Peoples Republic is the Vietnames leader Ho Chi Min (1890 AD - 1969 AD). Ho was inspired by Leninism, the Russian Revolution and the Chinese Communist Party and Achievements. He was also an early South East Asian Communist, who through his various political standpoints and deeds, later became President of the (so called) Democratic Peoples Republic of North Vietnam. Subseuqently in charge of the reunification of Vietnam entire through a violent process and backed in many forms by Mao Zedong and the Communist Party of China, he succeeded and as such is still hailed today as the "Mini-Mao" of Vietnam.
In a nuttshell, Ho was a pupil of the Chinese Communists and with their backing was used in various ways as a proxy, against American "Imperialist" Forces. Although more succesful than his northern counterpart Kim Il-Song of North Korea, Ho came to regret his great friendship with the more powerful and always manipulative northern neighbor, however his success could not have existed without China and the full backing of Mao Zedong himself.
Evening View of a Palm, Flower and Slogan Decorated Square of Heavenly Peace and Monuments illuminated during a Cold November 2004 AD and the 16Th Congress of The Chinese Communist Party.
Mao Zhuxi Jinian Tang, the Chairman Mao Memorial Hall in the Evening and at Night
( This varies between weekdays at 10 and Fridays, Saturdays and holidays until 11 and according to season).
The Chairman Mao Memorial Hall, as a Tomb Site, has a lower Tone of Lighting except during Festivities and Special Holidays. At the end of the evening the lights are switched of one by one, slowly dimming as a candle. The Last lights go out about half an hour after the first dimming occurs. By that time, the square of heavenly peace has usually already been fenced off and cleared of visitors. Only guards, camera's and police patrols remain through the night.
Mao", there supposedly is an elevator hidden beneath the black marble platform, allowing for the body of Mao to be transported lower where it is kept overnight in special preservation, climate and atmosphere. According to the same book there is wax doll of Mao Zedong stored below as well, as initially Dr ZhiSui was not at all sure he would be able to preserve the body as was called for by the Communist leadership.
In addition the secret inner workings and mechanism that help to keep the chairman fresh and the people happy, the Mao Mausoleum houses another major secret. As we can now be certain of through various accounts since, the cellars of the building are connected to an underground tunnel system, in privileged use by the Communist Party of China Leadership only. The tunnels, which as is known included an underground railway connecting with the "Jade Spring Hill" (Yuquanshan) and Mao's military command center and nuclear bunker, are separate from the 1960's public Beijing Air Raid Shelters also known as the "Beijing Underground City" (which run throughout the city).
throughout the first zealous years of the Cultural Revolution Era (1966 AD - 1976 AD officially) leaving the world with spectacular images of Mao the Chairman on the Platform of the TianAnMen - Gate of Heavenly Peace and millions of exasperated Chinese with Red Arm Bands frantically waving their
Map of Beijing City Central Districts with at the Core Tian'An Men Square and Mao Mausoleum.
"Little Red Book" and weeping with joy at a small glimpse of Mao, their appraised Leader, atop the Rostrum. Although, by then the shine of Mao's great promises had waned considerably among the General public, (as described on Page 3) leading to what Mao perceived as his near downfall in 1959, this was no doubt his great moment of triumph, a massive come back from what earlier had seemed an impossible position, not least to the rather paranoid mind of Mao Zedong himself.
Following his success in the year 1966 when Mao Zedong watched the fire works for National Day October 1st go up while "seated among the common people in the square" (it was no doubt a carefully selected bunch delivered by the secret police), Mao Zedong would once more take a minor step back from the limelight, but in the following period his close associates, comrades in arms the General Lin Biao (fallen from grace and apparently the sky as well in 1971) and his wife Jiang Qing carried forth the torch of his revolution and organized mass rallies of red guards, loyal workers unions and factory delegations in the square.
For Mao Zedong, now aging, who could claim to have seen almost anything under the Red Sun which had arisen over China and for whom the great mass rallies of the Cultural Revolution represented his last rise and final victory in his efforts to unify all Chinese under one flag, the flag of his great Communist Party, one great personal victory was to remain. That is, although it is widely agreed that Mao's launching of the Cultural Revolution resulted in massive suffering and enormous material, cultural and personal loss for all Chinese people leaving a deep scar in society as a whole, the period bore its own peculiar kind of fruit as the propagandist turned traditional Chinese cultural traits towards a new and modern direction.
You Tube Video : Tribute to Mao Zedong !
Browse YouTube.com for More Video's and Backgrounds on the controversial, turbulent and often violent Life, Times and Achievements of Mao Zedong. For all his failures his legacy, although now less clearly visible without sloganeering and Mao statues, is still relevant to all of the Nation and many a family within in the Peoples Republic of China today. Recent years have seen a revival of Mao Era oriented passions.
ShenYangMen - Arrow Tower Gate and the Memorial Hall for Mao Zedong as seen from the South-West corner of the Square of Heavenly Peace (Photo November 2003 AD).
In perfect conjunction with the other Monuments and the Grandiose Style of TianAnMen Square in Beijing The Mausoleum is a final element to fill up the Giant Parading ground and Memorial Political Center of China, thereby almost visually consolidating an image of the Great Revolution for today and many generations to come.
As originally envisioned by Mao, the entire TiananMen Square is now a giant propaganda masterpiece proclaiming the socialist revolution, his revolution, in China.
Opening Hours Mao Mausoleum :
No Visits are possible on Mondays when the Hall is closed. Otherwise, the Hall opens at 8:30 AM and locks it's doors at 11:30 am.
During July and August the Mausoleum only opens in the Morning, however at other times during the year Opening Hours have been expanded to afternoons as well. Tuesdays and Thursdays the Mausoleum can be visited from 2:00 PM to 16:00 PM as well.
For more information call Telephone 0086-10-65131130.
In 1949 AD, after his arrival by airplane on March 25Th in Beijing, Mao Zedong and the Central Committee of the Communist Party stayed at a Villa in the Western Hills. Now known as the Fragrant Hills Hotel and located inside the Fragrant Hills Park in far west Haidian District, the Hotel annex Former Home of Mao can be visited.
West of TiananMen on Chang An Avenue the Gate of New China is the south gate to ZhongNanHai, a former Imperial Garden and Lake, now home to the Leadership of China and its Communist Party. Full Introduction to Mao's last residence, a palace !
Visit the oldest remaining residence building of Mao Zedong near the Bell Tower of Beijing. Its a showcase of modest beginnings, left as a reminder to Mao.
This page was last updated on: June 10, 2017
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message of the Memorial Hall. Although Deng Xiaoping was to lead the Nation forward into a new and more prosperous era, in the transitional period within the Communist Party and Leadership an appeasing figure was found in Hua Guofeng.
One of the results remaining today, keeping alive the particular and unqiue athmosphere of the ultra-totalitarian Maoist Era, are the so called five masterpieces of "Revolutionary Peking Opera". The first and foremost gem among these films, performed and recorded under pressure and the guiding hand of Mao Zedong's wife Jiang Qing (considered a horrible cunt by most) is the adjacent film which may not go unmentioned in any tale regarding the life and achievements of Mao Zedong, a blunt, ruthless, often strange and over-emotional, but also intelligent and talented man. Under the title "The East Is Red", it is a masterpiece of stage art which tells both the story of China's 100 years of pre-Revolutionary suffering (along the lines written down by renowned fellow traveler Israel Epstein in his book "From Opium War to Revolution") and the heroic tale of the singular genius, Mao Zedong saving the
Cultural Revolution Era Masterpiece theatrical extravaganza, filmed and shot in Beijing under the guidance of Madame Mao, Jiang Qing. Although produced two years prior in 1964, the production, frowned upon but still immensely popular is a mainstay memory of everything representing the Mao Zedong Era in China and in particular the Cultural Revolution Era in which Mao became the shining sun guiding the Chinese people to a happier and better future (which alas never came under his rule).
Chinese People with his revolution and communist party. As may be glimpsed, through its teaching and song, the film and play finally elevated Mao Zedong to the level of a God like sage, comparable to one of the ancient immortals revered in ancient Temples, or more properly the status of an Emperor, mediator between the heavens and the earthbound Chinese people.
Although hardly anyone in China and the Communist Party of today would like to give her credit for any such thing, with this theatrical achievement, the late Madame Mao managed to further solidify and enshrine the reputation of her husband, among leading to the later preservation of Mao's body and his legacy, also in turn allowing for the hanging of his portrait over the Tian'Anmen Gate to this day. After the
of Mao hangs a Large Scale embroidered cloth depicting scenes from throughout the Provinces of the huge Country. The piece is titled "Throughout China". This North Hall is the Hall designed for Memorial Purposes and it can hold up to 700 People at once.
From here directions lead either East or West however, the throngs of visitors are not allowed to dwell around and explore. Instead, as they were under the yoke of the Chairman's rule in the old days, everyone lines up (although not very neatly) to be checked by security personel and passed in a long line through the monument, everything under the watchful eye of many electronic camera's and various armed police.
The long line leads through only a few halls heading almost directly to the ceremonial back hall in which the body of Mao Zedong still lies in state during opening hours. It is a weird spectacle indeed. Those who still find themselves in line shiver with expectation and usually moods change when the slowly but steadily moving line nears the chamber of the dead dictator, mass murderer, hero, poet, peasant, Nationalist and political survivor extraordinaire.
Tiananmen Square. Although some find little solace and beauty in the rather Stalinesque architectural style of this central part of Beijing, perhaps these might find some beauty in the statement held within.
Cover of "Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy"the Book. It feautures full photos of the Original Stage Performance and was available in Chinese and even English.
The Mao Zedong Mausoleum was not constructed before, but shortly after the death of Mao Zedong in September 1976 AD. For this, part of the gigantic TiananMen Square had to be cleared permanently to make room for this new and final Tiananmen Square Architectural and Political Monument.
To be more precise, during the years previous to Communist Party rule over China the south end of the enlarged Tiananmen Square seen today was closed off by the Qianmen Gate (Front Gate), which as a double-lock Gate was composed of the current day Qianmen Tower on the outside and the Shenyangmen Tower on the inside, with a walled enclosure in between. Beyond the Qianmen Gate on the inside of the city walls stood the Gate of China. The City Walls were demolished in the early 1950's followed by the Gate in the year 1954. The square was enlarged in 1958.
Although at a much later date, and after the Great Rallies in the square during the Mao Zedong Era, the Mausoleum to hold the embalmed remains of the Great Leader constructed in the place once held by the Gate of China. It was seen as a fitting symbolic exchange, as the old Gate symbolizing old feudal and early Republican China was replaced for the symbol of the spirit of the new China with the Mao Zedong Mausoleum at its heart and center. While the construction of the Musoleum was in progress event was taken as the best opportunity for further enlarging the square to its current size, making it completely rectangular and able to hold up to 600 thousand people at the same time.
proclamation. Apart from a lot of space and white marble the Hall contains an immense statue of Mao Zedong as well as the actual preserved body of Mao Zedong, which - surrounded by red flowers -
According to Mao's Private Doctor, Mister Li ZhiSui in his rather revealing book "The Private Life of
A view of Mao Zedong Mausoleum from the platform (rostrum) of the Shenyangmen (Arrow) Tower. The many visitors who have just passed along the body of Mao Zedong filter out of the southern gate in November 2003. Small stalls now removed used to sell Mao Zedong souvenirs such as pins, photos, the Little Red Book and other trinkets to whomever wanted to buy.
for best sunlight, view and photography with the added pleasure of watching the throngs exit the building. A secondary option is to gain access to the Rostrum of the Gate of Heavenly Peace (Tian An Men) and view across the vast space of the north half of the square towards the Mao Zedong Mausoleum. Already less attractive due to the enormous distance, this option has the added disadvantage that no one is allowed anywhere near the edge of the Rostrum and therefor taking photo's is not as easy as at the described Shenyangmen Platform. The edge of the Tian 'An Men rostrum is jealously guarded by whole row of unsympathetic looking secret agent types who have to stand there all day in order to make sure that no one throws paint, burning liquids, banners with slogans or god forbid themselves over the edge and (possibly) down upon the giant and sanctified Mao Zedong Image hanging affront below. It has happened before hence this current approach.
Security at Mao Zedong Memorial Hall in 2014:
Where the Square of Heavenly Peace in Beijing itself is already regarded as in the top 3 of most secure sites in all of the city, the Chairman Mao Memorial Hall itself sits within this security perimeter. Nevertheless, regardless, the Hall has its very own layers of screening by security agents, cameras and various electronic devices.
In the current day situation, waiting visitors are made to stand in line after which the first action is to check the line for people carrying bags, video cameras and the like. The most obvious are sorted out immediately and in clear but friendly terms told to return without their items.
In other words; leave the Square of Heavenly Peace through the Gate of Heavenly Peace at the north end and look for the north-west corner of the enormous courtyard you have walked into. The Gate behind the Gate of Heavenly Peace is the Duanmen or "Upright" Gate.)
After lining up empty handed for visiting - and because no bottles are allowed either, possibly sweating it out in the heat of square on a hot day- , the visitors are separated in several minor lines to accommodate
Current Threats to Mao Zedong Mausoleum; currently, the entire square of Heavenly Peace is on a heightened state of alert. With security already tightened since the upgrades previous to the memorable 2008 Beijing Olympics additional security personnel and devices have been deployed in response to series of various events at or near the Square of (not always so) Heavenly Peace.
To be specific; one may see fire prevention measures taken in order to counter self immolations by distraught Tibetans (Falun Gong or others). As such, fire engines stand at the ready but a bit out of the public eye in side streets. Fire extinguishers are held in storage and near.
Other types of protestors have chosen to use flammable materials or just plain red or color paint in order to demolish, damage or destroy specific objects found on the square. In case, in the last few years that famed Mao Zedong portrait hanging affront the
for the person to person screening that comes next. Step through the portal screening for metal objects and then stand on a tiny pedestal in order to get the hand screening and possibly visitation done.
The metal detector and screening filter out a humongous number of lighters, pens and other small objects to be left on the spot before moving on. Large plastic containers remain filled with interesting debris. Apparently, not too many people are silly enough to bring their cell phone (which has a camera and recording options). No recording devices of any kind are allowed through, so these too are left at the scene.
Mind you: even though the staff is helpful and one might theoretically retrieve ones device afterward, with the huge number of visitors passing through on a good day, there is no fair guarantee that it may not be lost after all, during your visiting time.
Additional security does exist, as described above, however it would be of little interest to count the number of camera's or their positions. Instead, it would be more valuable to point out some of the general threats the Mao Memorial Hall is facing.
General Threats to Mao Zedong Mausoleum; On any given day the Mao Zedong Memorial Hall is, or may be, high on the list of symbolic political targets to attack for anyone person or group of persons distraught with whatever problem they
Police Patrols, which have always been abundant at the Square of Heavenly Peace have only increased in number and force over the years. In addition many cameras, plain clothes police men and women and screening devices are added less visibly as well.
blame authorities for, or in case more specifically blame the Communist Party for. Mao is in General a symbol of controversial past and still is a symbol of the supposedly united rule of the Chinese Communist Party. As such, anything may happen at a place so well visited an thus right in the public eye.
As with the square in general, in order to prevent small scale protests, bannering or vandalism a considerable security arrangement has been added to the ceremonial guardsmen (and women) who have ritually guarded the complex since its opening in 1977. The general purpose of the screening is to prevent incidents such as (seemingly) random knife attacks (which are very common in China in general), bombings and more currently self-immolations, fire attacks or self poisonings (hence the bottle ban) from taking place in the line or even worse the building itself.
The second and other purpose of the considerable security screening is to prevent the entering of recording devices and photo and video cameras. As a sacrosanct part of the symbolic heart of the Nation and part of the legacy bearing architecture of the overall square it has been tradition not allow photographers, journalist or the general public to reveal anything that goes on inside the Mao Tomb Hall. As you will find, so far no such recordings can be found on sites like YouTube.com.
Gate of Heavenly Peace has been attacked and damaged twice. At one time a burning material was splattered across it, leading the hasty retrieval and replacement of the damaged portrait.
Further current threats may come from the so called Petitioners to the Government, a truly desperate group of citizens, who have often cooperated to organize various sorts of protest and actions on and around the Square of Heavenly Peace. Actions have included a mass storming of the entire square by (reportedly) well over a 1000 petitioners, swamping security in a flash mob attempt. Less peaceful actions have however also occurred and lately, in the ending months of 2013 several groups of petitioners have been witnessed to perform mass suicide attempts (on the perimeter of the square) by means of swallowing down bottles of pesticides.
A last mention may be given to recent violent incidents occurring at the Square of Heavenly Peace, mainly the incident involving a car rushing a sidewalk along the north of the square, running over crowds and slamming into the white marble bridges at the bottom of Tian An Men. This attack has been blamed on Uyghur Extremists originating from the (now very) restive Xinjiang-Uyghur Autonomous Region in the far west. Although there have been no specified threats specifically against the Mao Mausoleum Hall, security has been further increased regardless, if such a thing was still possible.
Nevertheless, visitors are little inconvenienced by it all.
Among the latest novelties are Beijing Police segways of which this one is parked in view of Mao Zedong Memorial Hall in December of 2014.
Dead from heart failure in 1969, 7 years before Mao's demise in '76, Ho Chi Minh had a legacy that was recognized to be equally indispensable in the political process of the Nation as Mao Zedong, and therefor, regardless of his request to be cremated his body was embalmed and enshrined in a mausoleum in Ba Dinh Square in Hanoi, the city which was the wartime Capital of North Vietnam and today remains its Capital and Political center. Much alike the situation with Mao Zedong in China, Ho Chi Minh remains controversial but at the same time a personality cult involving Ho is kept going by its Communist Party.
A Cultural Revolution Era Poster that needs little or no translation or text. During this Era General Lin Biao and the team headed by Madame Mao, Jiang Qing went to great lengths to establish the one line of righteousness, dubbed in the terms of the Era Mao Zedong Thought. The only one leader and savior of the Chinese People was Mao Zedong, the rest was of far less consequence. That was, unless it seemed to counter the sacred thought of Mao, which was a grave offense to be met by violence if need be.
mass rallies and the film "The East is Red",
the title song of which was known to each and every Chinese of all ages, the Communist Party of China could be sure it could not do without Mao Zedong and his considerable legacy.
Some 10 years later, at the very end of what must be dubbed the Mao Era, in September 1976, over 1 Million People distraught people filled the Square; to say their Farewells to the beloved "Great Helmsman", and to breathe a sigh of relief at the passing of a cruel dictator who himself long overruled the Party and who's close followers had ravaged and abused the nation.